Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘levels of consciousness’

Adult Development Theory and Political Analysis: An Integral Account of Social and Political Change in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia

Elke Fein

Abstract: I propose a reading of social, political and discursive change in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia which is inspired by an integral, above all developmental perspective. In view of explaining Russia’s current political trajectory, I make several arguments. First, I claim that Russian politics are still to a large extent determined by the effects of a threefold crisis of sense-making. Neither the collapse of the Soviet empire, nor the question of how to define democratic government nor the lack of a resilient national identity have so far been resolved and re-appropriated in a transformative manner. Second, I try to show how this affects various aspects and dimensions of Russian politics. Third, I engage in a brief overview of a number of adult development models, asking to what extent and how the characteristics of consciousness development, particular stage characteristics, and the general logics and dynamics of successful and unsuccessful development these models describe can be helpful to the analysis of Russian politics. Also, I discuss their compatibility and parallels with discourse theory and analysis as an increasingly popular methodology in Russian Studies. Of the developmental models reviewed, the theory of political development by Stephen Chilton and the self-protective action logic in Susanne Cook-Greuter’s model of self and identity development are particularly relevant for my purpose. On these grounds, it is argued that since Vladimir Putin’s taking office as Russian president and later prime-minister, politics and (official) political discourse have increasingly come to follow self-protective action logics as conceived by Susanne Cook-Greuter. This diagnosis, which could either be understood as a regression or as a realignment of internal and external dimensions of political development, can be explained as a reaction to Russia’s crisis of identity followed by a loss of internal stability and international influence connected to the dislocations mentioned above.

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